20 years in IT history: Connectivity

28. September 2007
Throughout the late 1980s, microcomputers had been understood as toy versions of mainframes and minis; they were standalone devices that attacked problems with processing cycles. In the quaint locution of the day, they were "artificial brains."

PS/2, NeXT and OOPs, 3 Archie, Linux, Windows Mosaic, Spam and More, Convergence The Dotcoms, Distributed Compution, XML Wireless and Y2K, Millennial Change and Angst, Blogs Sarbanes-Oxley, Virtualization, ERPERP Hangover Multicore Processors, The Network, The Alles zu ERP auf CIO.de

Gradually, the devices acquired a different function. They became smart links, machines that connected devices, data and people. They went from being computing machines to connection machines. Much of the history of the last 20 years can be written in terms of who got this and who did not.

1987: PS/2

IBM's rollout of its PS/2 microcomputer came on two levels, both news. The ads raved about the classy technical specs: a blazingly fast internal architecture, plug-and-play BIOS, keyboard and mouse interfaces that are still in use today (and are still called the PS/2 interface) and a floppy disk format (1.44M) that was so good it lasted as long as the technology.

The analysts saw a different message: had decided to shoo the children away. Where the PC had been wide open, the PS/2 was buttoned tight. Every aspect of it was proprietary, including the operating system. Businesswise, the job of the PS/2 was to yank the rug out from under both the clone manufacturers and that upstart, MicrosoftMicrosoft. Alles zu Microsoft auf CIO.de